Telephone Befriender

People Helping People
We are Cheshire East
Social Action Partnership
Volunteer role
Role titleTelephone Befriender
Purpose of the role

It is often said the greatest gift that you can give is time.

We will match you with a person who would benefit from having a regular chat. It may be that you call for a chat once a week over a cup of tea. This may be more frequent, depending on what you both agree.

If you decide to volunteer for this project, all we ask is that you can commit to a minimum of one hour per week. This could be a weekday, an evening or at a weekend.

As well as providing a ‘listening ear’ you may be able to provide links to other services and monitor general well-being. You will provide an opportunity for stories to be shared and human company, making a real difference to someone who is lonely or isolated.  Over time you will hopefully develop a lasting friendship.

What you will be doing

Telephone befrienders are matched to clients with similar interests so you can get to know each other and share life experiences hopefully have some fun.

Befrienders will be asked to give feedback about their support activity to the relevant Community Connector/VCP officer at reviews.

Skills, experience and qualities needed
  • Good listening and communication skills
  • Understanding the importance of confidentiality
  • Understanding the needs of individuals in the community
  • Patience and sensitivity
  • Reliability
  • Flexibility
When and whereVaries but normally 1 – 2 hours a week
Support offered
  • Induction
  • Training – includes, safeguarding, and mental health awareness
  • Access to welfare support and personal resilience
Benefits to volunteer
  • Fun
  • Friendship
  • Feel-good factor
Other relevant informationBasic DBS needed, arranged by Cheshire East Council.
What to do if you’re interestedRegister here.

Tips for befriending

Be patient

The person you befriend will probably have hundreds of stories to tell you, tales that they may not have been able to share for a long time .You may hear the same ones again and again but try not to finish the story for them, or hurry them along.  One of the huge benefits of your company is that it’s a reason to remember and discuss their past with a new person, which is thought to help stave off dementia.

Additionally, they may have forgotten when you last called and berate you for not contacting them – just gently remind them of when you last spoke.

Keep your promises

Think seriously about what you’ll be able to offer.

Don’t get carried away with the novelty and promise five hours a week, when realistically you’ll only be able to call once a week – the person you’re befriending will probably come to rely on your chats and you don’t want to let them down. Be honest from the start with what you’re able to offer, and you’ll both know where you stand.

Remember, for you an hour with your new friend is just one element of your busy week; for them it could be the beacon of hope they wait for.


You aren’t expected to listen quietly whilst your new friend talks about their life.  It’s a conversation, not a monologue or therapy session.  Share as many details about your personal life as you feel comfortable with.  You may end up receiving advice, or at least a different perspective on any issues troubling you, as well as someone who’ll rejoice in sharing any good news.

That said, it should go both ways.

Get ready to feel good

You might not expect to grow fond of the person you are befriending but the odds are you’ll quickly develop a rapport with them. Your routine may become as dear to you, as it is to them.

Taking a moment out of your life to be truly selfless by helping a fellow human in need with something as simple and basic as companionship, tends to have far-reaching benefits that extend beyond the hour or so you share.  You’ll feel better, they’ll feel better, and because of you, the world will be a better place.